It is dictatorship, not democracy, if the Tories force the Lords to support tax credit cuts

George Osborne: A spoilt child throwing his toys out of the pram when he doesn’t get his own way?

The whole point of the House of Lords is that it should be a part of Parliament containing experts who advise the government of the day – most especially when it is making a mistake.

We all know that the plan to cut tax credits isn’t a mistake; it’s a premeditated attack on the UK’s lowest-earners, no matter what the Treasury might say. £15 billion in savings for taxpayers? Which taxpayers would they be, exactly?

The cut is certainly a bad idea – and it is right that the Lords should oppose it.

So the Tory backlash, with threats to suspend the Lords or flood the Upper House with Conservative peers who will do as they are told, is utterly unacceptable.

Do we have a government, or a gang of spoilt children who throw their toys out of the pram the instant they don’t get their own way?

The House of Lords could be suspended or flooded with Tory peers if it takes the ‘nuclear option’ of killing off George Osborne’s tax credits cuts next week, government sources have warned.

Furious Conservatives are threatening retaliation if peers decide to take the unprecedented step of using a so-called ‘fatal motion’ to wreck the Chancellor’s plans to slash the welfare bill.

Insiders have told The Huffington Post UK that the Lords will face a huge backlash should they vote to block the tax credits cuts next Monday.

Their warning comes after we revealed that a cross-party group of peers was set to table a ‘fatal motion’ to scupper the statutory instrument needed to clear the way for the cuts to come into force next April.

On Monday evening the Treasury also took further steps to face down its critics, releasing analysis which it said showed Osborne’s welfare reforms have saved the taxpayer £15bn a year.

Source: Tories Threaten To Suspend House Of Lords If It Kills Off Tax Credit Cuts As George Osborne Faces Down Critics

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21 thoughts on “It is dictatorship, not democracy, if the Tories force the Lords to support tax credit cuts

  1. AndyH

    I am convinced Farron is trying to force House of Lords reform. An elected Lords would probably be on PR – so the liberal democrats would be better off. Neither of the two mentioned threats add up – Cameron cannot pass bills without the House of Lords and the red chambers are already fit to burst.

    These £15 billion ‘savings’ are false economies (assuming this figure has not been plucked out of thin air) – if people have less money to spend that means more businesses close and more people have to rely on friends and family for support.

  2. AndyH

    “Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands said the Opposition must explain where the money would come from if it reversed the cuts.” Urm aren’t we going to spend £100 billion on nuclear weapons we never use?

  3. rockingbass

    Unfortunately Tax credit is a fiscal bill . As far as I can understand the House of Lords can only ask the Commons to think again .

      1. hayfords

        There is no hard and fast rule. The convention is that the Lords will not oppose the second or third reading of any government legislation that is in their manifesto. It is called the Salisbury Convention. It came into being because the Labour victory in 1945 faced a huge Conservative majority in the Lords. The Conservatives introduced the convention to enable Labour manifesto plans such as nationalisation and the introduction of the health service.

        If the Lords now renege on that agreement, there will be a constitutional crisis. It could mean suspension of the Lords or the creation of large numbers of Conservative peers to change the balance.

        The other alternative is that the government could use the Parliament Act which is intended to force through finance bills and was misused as such by Blair to introduce the fox hunting bill against the Lords vote (Blair later said he regretted the legislation).

        The Lords can delay a non money bill for up to a year before the Parliament Act can be used, but a money bill can only be delayed for a month. The use of the Parliament Act causes the Bill to immediately clear all obstacles and go straight to the Royal Assent stage.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Of course the Coalition Government also misused the Parliament Act to force through legislation in the 2010-15 Parliament.
        But the tax credits change does not involve legislation; it would be enacted using a statutory instrument.

    1. hayfords

      The purpose of the HoL is as a revising chamber. It should not block or apply wrecking amendments otherwise it would not be possible to pass any legislation or govern. It is not an elected chamber and has no mandate to obstruct government bills. It works best when it applies sensible amendments to a bill that the Commons can consider.

      The Parliament Act gives the commons supremacy in extremis. The alternative is that even with an elected second chamber nothing useful ever gets done.

      If no chamber has supremacy you will get the situation that prevails in the USA where both chambers can block legislation and even the budget can’t get passed.

  4. Jenny Hambidge

    Has it occured to anyone that the cut to tax credits is linked to the total failure of IDS to get
    the Universal credit system off the ground? And to the amount that scheme has so far cost? Or at least to provide a distraction.

  5. Mr.Angry

    Absolutely agree, a bunch of dangerous spoilt brats, they are intent on causing death and absolute poverty so we will then accept anything to survive.

    I can no longer look at Cameron or any of them on the screen, the contempt I feel is affecting my health, they are truly despicable.

  6. Dez

    The Governments stats and information is now tainted by their political needs and not worth the paper it’s written on. Cons promised transparent accurate Gov. information but unfortunately transparent honest data does not win votes or get crap plans through parliament and make good press bytes……. so yes we have become a dictatorship and they will continue to send the less fortunate to early graves and ultra poverty without any second thought. .

  7. Helen Turner

    Do all the people who benefit from lower taxes really want to have it at the expense of the working poor,sick and disabled,and CHILDREN.if so shame on you,if not make your voices heard!

  8. no bull

    Cameron is like an unreal pantomime baddy. If you voted for him tben you are either a member of the 1% he works for or you are totally brainwashed by the media and flouride ratpoison scam. Either way you are responsible for this situation.

  9. mrmarcpc

    The country is under a dictatorship since 2010, where the hell have people been for over five years, they have forced their decisions through, no matter the opposition or the damage caused and will continue down their path until someone or some people grow and backbone to try and stop them!

  10. anon

    There seems to be a parallel between this and the situation of the unions under Thatcher.

    I get the impression that the Tories must have been long planning to draw teeth from the Lords and flood it with poodles anyway, and were just waiting for a pretext.

    The question is whether the Lords can produce (or create?) instruments to defend themselves.

    Whatever the case, the genie is unlikely to return to its bottle unbloodied, so let us hope the Lords stick to their guns and give these despots a run for their money.

  11. hayfords

    The Coalition did not use the Parliament Act. It has only been used 7 times ever since 1911. Three before 1949 and four after. One time was to amend the Act itself in 1949. The last use was in 2004 for the hunting act.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      What was the Bill that the Coalition Government changed to a money act midway through the Parliamentary process? They did that in order to get it past the Lords by invoking the Parliament Act.

      1. hayfords

        I can only assume that it was not necessary or maybe the potential use of the Parliament Act was enough.

        These are the only occasions when the Act has been used

        The original form of the 1911 Act was used three times. These were:

        1 Government of Ireland Act 1914, which would have established a Home Rule government in Ireland; its implementation was blocked due to the First World War.
        2 Welsh Church Act 1914, under which the Welsh part of the Church of England was disestablished in 1920, becoming the Church in Wales.
        3 Parliament Act 1949, which was used to amend the Parliament Act 1911

        The amended form of the 1911 Act has been used four times. These were:

        4 War Crimes Act 1991, which extended jurisdiction of UK courts to acts committed on behalf of Nazi Germany during the Second World War (the only time that the Parliament Acts have been used by a Conservative government).
        5 European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999, which changed the system of elections to the European Parliament from first past the post to a form of proportional representation.
        6 Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000, which equalised the age of consent for male homosexual sexual activities with that for heterosexual and female homosexual sexual activities at 16.
        7 Hunting Act 2004, which prohibited hare coursing and (subject to some exceptions) all hunting of wild mammals (particularly foxes) with dogs after early 2005.

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